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How to Create the Perfect Moving Checklist

There are several areas of life that require some advanced planning, and a major move is a great example. Leaving all your move preparation until the day of is simply untenable in many situations where you’re moving a large number of items, and planning should typically begin weeks or even months ahead of time.

At CMS Relocation & Logistics, we’re happy to assist with numerous commercial and residential moving needs, including both local and long-distance moves — and planning your move is just one of the areas we’ll offer comprehensive services in. When it comes to the planning process, we generally recommend a checklist of sorts; this can be created using any basic template you prefer, whether it’s a written list, a virtual spreadsheet or any other. Here are some of the basic items we recommend placing on your moving checklist, moving from the furthest point of time out from your move all the way up to moving day itself.

creating perfect moving checklist

2-6 Months in Advance

Precisely when you begin your moving preparation will depend on a few factors, including the distance of your upcoming move, the number of things being moved and so on. If you’re moving locally and have a relatively manageable number of possessions, for instance, you can typically get started with your planning a couple months ahead of time.

If you’re moving over a long distance or have a larger number of items, however, you might consider planning your move even further in advance, as far as six months in some cases.

Here are some things you might consider during this initial stage of planning:

  • Start getting rid of items: Whether through donation, recycling or just plain putting them in the trash, you should begin weeding out items that clog up space and aren’t needed for your new life. This can be a fairly long process depending on how much stuff you have to start with, but it’s important as it will ultimately make your move easier.
  • Arrange professional movers: If you have decided to go with professional movers, you’ll want to get the ball rolling with this process. This is usually an easy step if your movers are local, but it can be more complex if they’re not. Always double check your contract before signing!
  • Arrange temporary storage: If you don’t have a separate storage unit, this is a good time to call a reputable moving company and discuss options for temporary storage. Many full-service movers will have storage options at both origin and destination cities, and they can help find the best and most cost-effective solution.
  • Keep track of estimates, bills, and receipts: For any third-party services, such as movers or self-storage facilities, you will want to keep receipts and stay organized. That way if anything is lost or any issues come up with your move, you’ll have backup documentation readily available.

6-8 Weeks in Advance

As you get within reasonable range of the move, but still have several weeks left to go until the big day, here are a few other considerations:

  • Begin gathering moving supplies: It’s a good idea to have several boxes and packing materials on hand. You can typically buy or rent these from a moving company, or you might even be able to secure them from friends or family members who have undergone a move in the past.
  • Begin using perishable goods: Because perishable foods and goods likely cannot come with you on the big move, you will want to begin using them up or sell them. Doing so ensures they don’t cause problems in your new home and helps minimize potential weight issues with the movers by keeping unnecessary items out of their haul.
  • Schedule important pickups: This is particularly important if you’re moving several hours away and won’t be able to make the drive back right away. This includes things like school records from you or your children, tax documents from a recent move and so on. The priority here will vary by individual, but it’s a good idea to have everything in one place at least six weeks before your big day just in case.

3-4 Weeks in Advance

With just a few weeks to go, it’s time to begin finalizing several details:

  • Confirm movers: Make sure you have an accurate count of the number of movers you will be using, as well as confirmation on their arrival times. Note any special equipment or other needs to ensure they are prepared for the big day.
  • Begin large item organization: This is a good time to start ordering around larger, heavier, or more valuable items. This includes things like appliances and furniture, which you’ll likely need help moving with the movers.
  • Arrange mail forwarding and utilities: If you’re leaving a residence for a new location, you’ll want to schedule mail forwarding. This requires confirming the arrival date for your mail with your existing post office and setting up a date when it will stop being delivered to your old address. You should also consider other services tied to your location such as utilities, internet, auto-shipment programs and more.

1 Week in Advance

Most of your major details should be arranged at this point. This is the period where you should begin the bulk of the packing process, including organizing items and packing them up. While you should have started this process further out, it’s important to remember that if you have boxes or bins already packed, they can easily be transferred into the larger moving truck for loading on move day.

Moving Day

If you’ve done things correctly to this point, your moving day checklist shouldn’t be large at all — in fact, many of our clients don’t even have one, because everything is already packed and ready to go! You may have a few final tasks to check off the list, but you’ll largely have been prepared for this day for quite a while and won’t be surprised at any part of what comes.

For more on how to create an ideal moving checklist, or to learn about any of our quality moving services or storage facilities in the Seattle area, speak to the pros at CMS Relocation & Logistics today.

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